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Native American graduate honored

“I really enjoyed the time I spent at St. Joseph’s Indian School."

“He was my protector, coach and mentor,” Rose says of Andy. The two have remained in touch since Rose’s days at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
“He was my protector, coach and mentor,” Rose says of Andy. The two have remained in touch since Rose’s days at St. Joseph’s Indian School."
"We had plenty to do: sports, hiking the chalk hills, camping, fun with all the other kids ... we were always busy,” said Rose, recipient of St. Joseph’s 2011 Distinguished Alumnus award."

“I want to give back in some way now, because I know what St. Joseph’s helped me accomplish.”"

From first through sixth grade, St. Joseph’s Indian School was a home-away-from-home for Rose and her siblings.

“When I received the news that I had been selected for the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus award, I was speechless,” said Rose. “I had the biggest smile on my face and a tear of joy in my eye. St. Joseph’s was a big plus in my life. We had a lot of discipline, a lot of good teaching and we had a roof over our heads, food, school and definitely church everything we needed to grow and become successful.”

Rose had been in touch with St. Joseph’s off and on over the years, but about a year ago decided it was time to do more.

She started by calling Andy, who had coached basketball and supervised in the boys dorm during her time at St. Joseph’s. Over the years, they stayed in touch, and Andy became a mentor to Rose.

“Rose hands out Christmas gifts to girls in the Stevens Home. Rose and her coworkers at SD DENR provided gifts for boys and girls in six of St. Joseph’s homes.
Rose hands out Christmas gifts to girls in the Stevens Home. Rose and her coworkers at SD DENR provided gifts for boys and girls in six of St. Joseph’s homes.

“He always made me feel protected,” she said. “When I was at St. Joseph’s, but even after I left.”

Andy introduced Rose to Mary Jane, St. Joseph’s Alumni Coordinator, who helped make arrangements for Rose to speak to St. Joseph’s current students and share her life experiences and encouragement.

“It’s important for these kids to know they’re not alone, that someone else has been where they are,” said Rose. “As a former student, I know what it’s like to be away from home and how hard it can be to go back home.

Everyone has those day-to-day struggles, but you get up, dust yourself off and you work through them. You want to give up but you reach inside, reach for your inner strength to keep going, hold your head high and tell yourself, ‘you can do this.’ It’s so important to keep making good choices and always remember you have a choice with what you do with your life so get out there and make a difference!”

In addition to these encouraging words, Rose rallied her coworkers at the South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources to provide Christmas gifts for six of St. Joseph’s homes.

“It’s wonderful to have former students like Rose return to St. Joseph’s,” said Fr. Steve, St. Joseph’s Director. “We’re grateful that Rose is willing to share what she’s learned and encourage our students to always do their best. We’re proud to honor her as our 2011 Distinguished Alumna.”

Previous award winners include:

 

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